Heart Failure - Alcohol and Smoking

Alcohol and smoking will worsen the condition of heart failure, so it is essential that people with heart failure reduce their alcohol intake and quit smoking.

friends having a drink over a meal
Alcohol and smoking will worsen the condition of heart failure, so it is essential that people with heart failure reduce their alcohol intake and quit smoking.

Alcohol

Although there is evidence that taking a little bit of alcohol (three or less standard drinks* a week) may lower the risk of heart disease, taking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, worsen heart failure, or lead to a stroke.


* One standard drink contains 10g of pure alcohol and is equivalent to 1 can of beer (220ml), 1 glass of wine (100ml), or 1 nip (30ml) of spirits.

Related: Addictions

Smoking

Every cigarette contains more than 4,000 harmful chemicals including nicotine which triggers the body to release adrenaline. This narrows the blood vessels and forces the heart to beat harder.

Smoking damages the blood vessels, reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and makes the heart beat faster. All these can make the heart condition worse. Smoking can lead to heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung diseases and stomach ulcers.

Passive smokers (people who breathe in other people’s smoke) suffer similar health risks as smokers.

If you are a smoker with heart failure, it is important to quit smoking. The benefits of quitting smoking include:

  • less shortness of breath and cough
  • better sense of taste and smell
  • improved mood and mental well-being
  • reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and cancers

Quitting smoking requires your motivation, confidence and commitment. Various forms of support are available to increase your chances of quitting smoking successfully. Your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or a quit consultant can help you quit your smoking habit.


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Heart Failure - Alcohol and Smoking

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